Team India captain Rohit Sharma stated that the hosts would not take things for granted despite thumping Australia by an innings and 132 runs in the first Test in Nagpur. He backed the Aussies to make a strong comeback but added that they would be prepared for the challenge.
India got the better of Australia inside three days in the first Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test on Saturday, February 11. After India put up 400 in their first innings, the Aussie's second innings lasted a mere 32.3 overs as they were bundled out for 91.
India had a somewhat similar start to the 2020-21 series in Australia when they were skittled out for 36 in their second innings of the opening Test in Adelaide. The visitors, however, fought back in heroic fashion to clinch the series.
Asked if India expected the Aussies to stage a comeback along the same lines, Rohit said at the post-match press conference:
“Good one. Australia is always a good team. The good thing about this team is we don’t think about what has happened in the past. It’s important to stay in the present. Lot of the guys who played in that series are not here for Australia. For us as well, a few guys are missing.
“Australia love playing Test cricket. They pride themselves in coming out and representing their country. We are quite aware of them bouncing back. We are pretty much aware of what they can do as a team. By no means are we ruling them out. We want to play the cricket that we played in this game."
The 35-year-old added that he was surprised at Australia’s second-innings capitulation. According to Rohit, the pitch on Day 3 was a pretty good one to bat on. The Indian opener elaborated:
“No I didn’t (expect Australia to get bowled out so quickly). I thought the pitch was good. We were prepared to have hard days of bowling and spending time on the field, sessions after sessions.
"We never thought they’ll get bowled out in a session. The pitch became slow and slow. There was not much bounce in the pitch. It was a bit of a surprise.”
Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed 5/37 as only four Australians reached double figures in their second innings.
“I don’t know the mental state of the Australian team” - Rohit Sharma
Asked if he felt the current Indian team was mentally stronger than Australia, Rohit replied that he could only speak about his team. The right-handed batter stated:
“I don’t know the mental state of the Australian team. I can certainly vouch for our team because we are the ones who want to play on pitches like these. It’s not just now. We have been playing on such kind of pitches for last three to four years.”
Rohit led from the front for India with the bat, scoring a sublime 120 off 212 balls, a knock that featured 15 fours and two sixes.